Notes From The GOP Playbook: How To Lose An Election
In Virginia and New Jersey, Republican candidates for Governor seemed to be carefully following a carefully scripted GOP playbook plans for instructions on "How To Lose An Election".
In Virginia, Rev. Pat Robertson, offered some thoughts on just how miserable the campaign of Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore was. Robertson lamented that in the Republican stronghold, Virginia Beach, where the Pat Robertson Christian Broadcast Network with it's 700 Club Program, Regency University has it's organization headquarters, many Republican voters failed to even vote, and the Democratic vote was far larger than usual. Kilgore managed to attach his name to ads absolutely obsessed with the death penalty issue, as though this is the only issue for the Governor of Virginia to rule for. And Kilgore made a special effort to attach his political fortunes to George Bush, whose Iraq War, record high oil prices, Katrina response, White House scandal and other problems made Bush a political liability.
The lesson in this: If you're a Republican be sure to come across as nasty and negative, and be sure to attach your political fortunes to the sinking poll numbers of a fast sinking president. Two other statewide Republicans did narrowly win both the Lt. Governorship and the Attorney General post, but these wins were extremely narrow. In a strongly "red" state these wins by Republicans should have been far wider. It does show some significant GOP erosion on one hand. But on the other hand a win is a win. Democrats still need to field better candidates with stronger campaigns.
In New Jersey, Doug Forrester decided that a very negative campaign, even using the exwife of Jon Corzine was the proper way to run a campaign. Women especially hated this nasty sort of campaigning and it created a 20 point gender gap among women voters.
In both states, Republican candidates have decided that a campaign that should appeal to many voters concerned about "values" should involve extreme nastiness and negativity, and managed to help suppress many of their own voters. Democrats are certainly not out of the woods either. They still have much work to do. And pretty much just managed to hold onto the status quo rather than lose more ground yesterday. But coming across as more positive with values more in support of working families, as opposed to the GOP embrace of big corporations by some of their candidates can certainly be helpful. Some in the hard right are especially nasty and even threatening. Some of the right wing Blogs reflect this political thuggery. But Democrats have to offer a reasonable alternative for more moderate and progressive voters. This is a key to more Democratic wins.